Thoughts in Solitude - Thomas Merton

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” † † †
-Thoughts in Solitude
© Abbey of Gethsemani
"Your way of acting should be different from the world's way"...Rule of St. Benedict.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Superbowl 43: America Needs some Football, Faith and Fun

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online

The outspoken Christian witness of players on both of these teams offers a chance to keep the worries away after the big game concludes.

TAMPA, Fl (Catholic Online) – The big football game is only days away. Most American families are busy planning the fare for their popular American past time, the “Super Bowl Party”. The teams this year, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals, generate extraordinary enthusiasm among their supporters and equally powerful animosity in the hearts of their opponents.

This year, many Americans are fearful for the future and hoping that something can turn this ailing economy around. They are worried about their family’s future and deeply concerned over so many of what seem to be a host of multiplying problems.

Perhaps this Sunday, at least for a little while, those worries will be put aside and the sheer enthusiasm of the game will lift that concern. However, it will take more than a successful outcome; however we may define it, to keep our spirits lifted come Monday morning.Once again we can look to the players on the field to give us some help.

This year, the outspoken Christian witness of players on both of these teams offer a chance to many of us to keep the worries away even after the big game concludes, no matter which team wins.

From the Cardinals outspoken evangelical Protestant quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Tim Hightower to the devout Greek Orthodox Safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Troy Polamalu, the Christian faith, in its many expressions, is alive and well on the football field and provides a guiding light for many of our favorite athletes.

None of the players who speak so openly of their Christian faith have prayed for a successful outcome for their team. At least they do not admit to having succumbed to the temptation.Instead, they demonstrate a mature understanding of both the power and the purpose of prayer.

Aaron Smith, defensive lineman for the Steelers, openly speaks of the comfort he found in his relationship with the Lord when his young son was diagnosed with leukemia. Running back Willie Parker has shared with both friends and the Press that he prayed for recovery from his own multiple injuries this season. Their stories are repeated among many of their team members.

We all need the sheer enjoyment and release that will come from watching this big game. We all need a little fun and relaxation. It all seems so intense these days doesn’t it? I will admit to having a favorite team on Sunday, my adopted Pittsburgh Steelers.

My love for the Steelers goes way back to my days, now so long ago, as a student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Back when Terry Bradshaw led that team, the fans of that wonderful sports town stole my heart. That extraordinary team managed to turn me into a real football fan and I have enjoyed this wonderful sport ever since.

I truly hope that on this Sunday, along with the sheer enjoyment of stretching out in our living rooms, or in various centers of celebration throughout the Nation - along with family and friends - and rooting for our favorite team, we will all stop and listen to the simple message of so many of these athletes. They are refreshing in their willingness to simply share their faith in the Lord.They remind us all that faith is not complicated.

Quarterback Kurt Warner told an interviewer for a story released by the Associated Press, “You just have to embrace it, whatever God does in your life and wherever he puts you." Steeler’s Defensive lineman Aaron Smith, when asked about his reaction to the hard news of his son’s leukemia diagnosis, told another reporter, "It's really through the Lord's strength that I've been able to cope with this."

So it can be for all of us as we face the many struggles in these difficult days in America. We can let go and believe that the One to whom we direct our prayer is trustworthy. He has a plan for each one of us and for each of our families. He will also give us the strength to persevere through any of these struggles, if we will stop worrying and turn to Him.

I will be flying back from Canada on Sunday. However, I should arrive home in time for the kick off. I can’t wait! I need some relaxation and good human fun. Let this 43d Super Bowl begin, and, oh, by the way, “Go Steelers!”

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